Tigers at Twins
Justin Verlander attempts to rebound from one of the ugliest outings of his career when the Detroit Tigers continue their nine-game road trip with a visit to the Minnesota Twins on Friday night. Verlander was shelled in his last start against the Cleveland Indians, matching his career worst by surrendering nine runs.
Detroit limps into Minnesota after giving up 21 runs while getting swept in a three-game set in Tampa Bay. "The worst defensive series the Detroit Tigers have played since I've been here," said manager Brad Ausmus after his club dropped to 3-5 away from home. The Twins' 5-1 start is becoming a distant memory in the wake of a four-game losing streak capped by a three-game sweep at home by the Indians. It will mark the second series between the American League Central rivals, with the Tigers winning two of three in Detroit last week.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.71 ERA) vs. Twins LH Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.47)
While Verlander imploded against the Indians, who have handed him the most losses (22) of any opponent, he's won more than half his 33 starts (17-8, 3.06 ERA) against Minnesota. The 2011 AL MVP struck out 10 over 6 1/3 innings to beat the White Sox in his season debut and settled for a no-decision despite giving up one unearned run in seven innings versus Boston. Twins first baseman Joe Mauer is 25-for-75 with four homers against Verlander.
Santiago has resembled the pitcher the Twins thought they were getting when he was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline a year ago. The 29-year-old Santiago went 3-6 with a 5.58 ERA after the deal, but he has permitted three runs in as many starts after blanking the White Sox over seven innings Sunday. Santiago has kept Detroit sluggers Miguel Cabrera (6-for-25) and Victor Martinez (5-for-25) in check.
1. Tigers 2B Ian Kinsler hit his 41st leadoff homer Wednesday, the seventh-highest total since 1913.
2. Mauer doubled Thursday for his first extra-base hit of the season, coming in his 53rd at-bat.
3. Tigers SS Jose Iglesias is expected to be placed on the seven-day concussion list.